Scouting Trip - Fish Lake in the Southern Umpqua 6-22-20

Photos by Bob H.

Bob Hutton and I did a new hike to Fish Lake. Our main problem was navigation. We headed past Tiller and had the FS road we needed but it never appeared on the GPS. It turned out the road started across a bridge with no signs which is why we missed it. For those trying the hike the turn is across an unmarked bridge at mile 24 out of Tiller of Road 28. If you slow down you can see the signs across the bridge. 

We attempted to follow directions from our guide books but hit a Y junction with no signs at all. We took the right side and went up several miles but decided the left would take us to the Fish Lake TH. The claim in the books that it is well-signed is pure BS. In any case coming back down we did find a sign, pointing uphill in a direction from which no one would come. After the hike we met some seemingly 10-year old interns who told us the other direction would have taken us to the TH we wanted. 

So we found the Fish Lake TH and climbed the 4 mile trail to the Lake. The trail was very nice, with views down to Fish Creek through an old forest. In the heat it was a bit of a challenge but we stopped to cool down from time to time. It was 10 degrees cooler than the Rogue Valley but still hot and it was uphill all the way. The Lake is 90 acres, very large for a mountain lake. 

Some Details:

Driving Distance: 92 miles from Rite Aid

Ascent: 1,100 feet.

Hiking Distance: 8 miles 

Driving Time : 2 hours 10 minutes

Directions: Highway 62 and left at Highway 227 after Shady Cove. Turn right onto Highway 46 right after the bridge in Tiller. Drive 24 miles and look for an unmarked bridge with road signs across the bridge. Cross the bridge and turn left on Road 2823 which parallels the river. Continue until you see Road 2830 and turn right. Soon after you will come to a fork in the road and you turn left onto Road 2840. Don't expect any signs or postings on your  GPS. In 1/2 mile you are there. if you take the fork to the right you will go to the Skimmerhorn TH for the hike to Grasshopper Mountain.

Conclusions and follow up. The next step will be a hike from the Skimmerhorn TH to Grasshopper Mountain and around to Fish Lake. We concluded that for the Monday Group we might want to use a shuttle and leave from Skimmerhorn to Cliff lake, then over the north side of Grasshopper Mountain, north around Fisk Lake and down to the Fish Lake TH. For the Wednesday Group they could do the same but take a side trail to the summit of Grasshopper Mountain to get them over 10 miles and 2,100 feet. For real punishment you could start from the Fish Lake TH and do the Grasshopper Mountain Summit. 

Notes: The driving time is long due to slow roads but there is almost no traffic so quite relaxing. On maps it shows a trail from the beginning of Fish Lake to the trail near the Skimmerhorn TH. It exists but requires crossing some 25 yards of logs over Fish Lake Creek. Doable but probably not for the Monday Group.

Thank you Bob for helping me today. 

Ashland Hiking Home

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